Bay Area sailors Merritt Sellers, 14, and her father Scott, 50, have won this year’s Bayview Mackinac Race. The duo from Larkspur began the race at 11:30 a.m. last Saturday in Port Huron aboard their J/111, nosurprise. Almost 34 hours later, just after 9 p.m. Sunday, they sailed into the harbor on Mackinac Island. This was Merritt’s first Port Huron to Mackinac race, and the pair’s first Mackinac as a doublehanded crew.
The pair sailed in last year’s Chicago to Mackinac race with a crew of eight. This year, as one of only two crew, Merritt stood her watches and helmed the boat while her father rested below decks. At 3 a.m., during what Scott Sellers told the Detroit Free Press was a “key part of the race,” Merritt made decisions that ultimately gave them the edge over their nearest rival, Utah, from Michigan. “Merritt wasn’t here as a passenger,” Scott said.
Merritt has been sailing since she was 7, and last week told The Detroit News, “When I was little my dad would joke that some day we could do a doublehanded race, and this is something I’ve been working toward most of my life.”
Scott is best known locally as a partner in the J/70 1FA, which was overall winner in this year’s Delta Ditch Run. Together with his wife and three daughters, Scott is a member at both the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco and the Little Traverse Yacht Club in Harbor Springs, Michigan.
Merritt and Scott were registered in the Shore Course, Doublehanded J, Division II. Next weekend Scott will compete with his 18-year-old daughter Hannah in the Chicago to Mackinac Race.
We’ll bring you more on the Mackinac, and the contingent of Bay Area sailors who travel east for the races, in an upcoming issue of Latitude 38.